How where you live makes you more extreme

Posted by on Oct 19, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Safemap

Been reading the Big Sort (as recommended by Muiry).

We already know that copying explains why we live where we live, but this book makes a bigger claim

Essentially the idea is that the US has become more polarised (yes, that's with an 's', amigos) over the last 2 decades as individuals have been able to choose to live with like-minded folks: most electoral districts have become more left- or right leaning…

But it's not just the obvious problems arising from living in ideological ghettos so that citizens barely understand the folk from down the road; it seems that sharing your world with people who see the world just like you do actually makes you more extreme in your views. (Remember things like the "risky shift" from your psych classes?)

Think this is what lies behind the angry politics of what appear to be two rival nations, shouting at each other's candidates… (even if Sen Palin takes it in good spirit). And the shockingly low turnouts in most US elections (landslide counties tend to have lower votes so if most of these are clearly Red or Blue, then…). Think our American cousins need to work out how to reverse this or compensate for it – otherwise the rift will become ever wider – something nobody wants.(Curiously, it seems that this is something the Founding Fathers were much concerned with – President Madison in particular.)

And on the subject of what your home location does to you, have also been reading this Joseph Rowntree Foundation report on territorality Download 2278-young-people-territoriality

Struggle to imagine how bleak the life of the young black british male is who drew the picture of his 'safe territory' above (CCTV included!). What would it do to you? Do you not think it might make you angry?